Guidance for completing the application for accreditation


APTitude is PMI’s online system for the administration of applications to become an Accredited Pension Trustee and for subsequent management of accredited status. Accreditation forms part of the standards for Professional Trustees first published by the Professional Trustee Standards Working Group (PTSWG) in February 2019.

Completion of the initial application must generally be completed within six months of commencing the application process. Exceptions can be made in some circumstances, such as long-term illness or maternal/paternal leave. Applicants requiring clarification about this point should contact PMI’s Membership Department.

The initial application process consists of the following components:
  • Personal information
  • Trustee toolkit
  • DBS check
  • Fit and Proper test
  • Certificate in Pension Trusteeship Unit One
  • Certificate in Pension Trusteeship Unit Two
  • Referees & Declaration
Guidance on completing each of these steps is set out below.
Please note, we recommend using the following browsers for completing the application: Chrome, Safari and Microsoft Edge. 

Personal Information

The first part of the application form requires applicants to identify current appointments or any previous appointments held in the five years prior to the date of application. It should cover appointments made to the applicant when acting either as a sole trader or as an employee acting on behalf of a firm.

The second part covers any businesses owned or controlled by the applicant during the five-year period ending on the date of application.

Trustee Toolkit

The Pensions Regulator’s Trustee Toolkit was developed by TPR in response to a requirement within the Pensions Act 2004 to comply with the Trustee Knowledge and Understanding requirements.

All applicants are required to have completed the Toolkit. Recent completers are issued an electronic certificate to confirm completion. If you have been issued with such a certificate, you should upload it as part of the application process. However, if you do not have such a certificate, please tick the appropriate box to certify completion.

DBS Check

Applicants are required to obtain and submit a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check. This currently costs £23. Please note that the application process differs between those based in England or Wales and those based in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The DBS check submitted for an APTITUDE application must be no more than three months old as at the date of application and requires triennial renewal.

Fit and Proper

PMI reserves the right to reject any application made should it emerge that information provided is inaccurate or incomplete. Should an applicant dispute the grounds for this rejection, there is a formal appeals procedure. Applicants should however consider the following:

• An application will be unsuccessful should the applicant currently be subject to a bankruptcy order, bankruptcy restrictions order or award of sequestration. This would also apply to any overseas equivalent. PMI will exercise discretion in respect of discharged bankrupts.
• An application will be unsuccessful if an applicant has been disqualified from acting as a director.
• An application will be unsuccessful if an applicant has been convicted due to fraud, dishonesty or other forms of financial crime. PMI will exercise discretion with regard to convictions for other offences. Criteria that will be considered would include
o The severity of the offence
o The relevance of the offence to the role of an Accredited Pension Trustee

• An application will be unsuccessful if the applicant has been expelled from membership by a professional body. PMI reserves the right to exercise its discretion with regard to other forms of disciplinary action brought be any Regulator or professional body

CPT Unit One

Unit One of PMI’s  Level 3 Certificate in Pension Trusteeship (CPT) Unit 1 - Professional Trusteeship - a multiple-choice exam of 60 questions, lasting 90 minutes. Please note, learners already holding the Award In Pension Trusteeship (APT), will be exempt from sitting Unit 1, and it will count towards the final certificate as having been completed. 
To be valid for application, the examination must either
(a) Have been completed in the year ending at the date of application, or
(b) The applicant must have been professionally active in a pensions role during the five years ending on the date of application.

Applicants requiring guidance as to the validity of an existing award, or who are unable to provide evidence of having completed the award, should contact PMI’s Lifelong Learning Department.

CPT Unit Two

Unit Two of CPT is a new examination designed to assess a candidate’s soft skills. Like Unit One, it is an examination of 60 multiple choice questions completed within 90 minutes.


An applicant’s referees should have a senior role within the pensions industry. Examples include:

  • Scheme Actuary
  • Pensions Manager
  • Pensions Consultant
  • Pensions Accountant
  • Pensions Lawyer
  • Accredited Pension Trustee
  • Scheme Secretary
The referee should have been known to the applicant for at least two years. A referee should not be a current colleague or family member.

On successful completion of the application, PMI will issue a certificate to demonstrate completion. This will be valid for one year and will be subject to renewal on each anniversary of the initial completion.
The names of those trustees accredited through the APTitude programme will also be recorded in a publicly available register held on the PMI website.


Applicants are not required to provide evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at
the time of initial application. A requirement to submit CPD arises on completion of the first year of accreditation. The CPD year for an Accredited Pension Trustee is therefore based on the anniversary of initial accreditation rather than on a fixed date in the calendar year. It will therefore differ from trustee to trustee.

Accredited Pension Trustees are required to complete 25 hours’ CPD each year. At least 15 hours must be structured CPD. All recorded CPD must be relevant to the role of a pension scheme trustee.

Accredited Pension Trustees are advised to record CPD within the APTitude CPD recording system, but alternative recording systems are acceptable. However, any accredited Pension Trustee must be able to provide complete evidence of the previous twelve months’ CPD within one month of it being requested by PMI’s membership department. Failure to comply with this requirement is likely to result in the removal of accreditation.

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